Moss Bros reports wider loss

MENSWEAR retailer Moss Bros yesterday posted widening losses but said it was confident that it would return to profit &ldquo;sooner rather than later&rdquo;.<br /><br />Moss Bros reported a pre-tax loss of &pound;3m for the six months to 1 August, compared to &pound;2m for the same period the year before.<br /><br />The group, which also runs the Savoy Taylors Guild and Cecil Gee chains, said total group sales were down 0.6 per cent with like-for-like sales dipping 2.6 per cent.<br /><br />Demand for black-tie dinner outfits has plummeted as the City cuts back on perceived excess.<br /><br />But the group said that while a jump in unemployment had dented consumer confidence, Moss Bros was bolstered by a renewed demand for tailored job interview outfits.<br /><br />Chief executive Brian Brick also said that the group had recently seen a &ldquo;double-digit&rdquo; increase in like-for-like sales.<br /><br />Brick said:&ldquo;It has turned in the last few weeks to positive, but we don&rsquo;t want to rush &ndash; we want to make sure that this lift materialises.&rdquo;<br /><br />Altium Securities analyst David Stoddart said: &ldquo;The second half appears to have started encouragingly. We are now in a period that compares with the months last year when Lehmans collapsed.&rdquo;